Saturday, November 12, 2005

Movie Review: The Battle of Algiers

Last week, in an ironically topical twist, I happened to watch The Battle of Algiers, Gillo Pontecorvo's masterpiece set amidst the late-'50s Algerian struggle for freedom. Shot on location in Algiers and so starkly realistic, especially in the crowd scenes, that one might mistake it for a documentary, The Battle of Algiers views the struggle dispassionately, calmly capturing moments of terror unleashed by both sides while simultaneously painting an intensely human portrait of the perpetrators. Rumor has it that the movie has become a training video for government agencies thanks to its thorough explanation of urban warfare and cellular terrorist organization.

Two thumbs way up!

In other news, I have also been watching a couple of David Cronenberg films, Spider (2002) and Videodrome (1983). The former is well-done but too grim and depressing for my taste while the latter is a decently entertaining off-beat horror movie about television and mind-control. Also worth watching:

Flirting With Disaster (1996) is yet another deliciously offbeat film by David O. Russell -- think Three Kings crossed with I Heart Huckabees.

Killing Zoe (1994) is an ultra-violent heist movie set in Paris that makes up for its lack of substance with style and snatches of interesting dialogue. If you see shades of Tarantino, it is not a surprise since the movie was made by Roger Avary, one-time Tarantino collaborator and co-writer of Pulp Fiction.

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